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July 5, 2021

SCA reaches settlement to release cargo ship blocking Suez Canal

The Ever Given will be released after the signing of the settlement contract on 7 July.

The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) has reached an agreement with Shoei Kisen Kaisha, the Japanese owner of the Ever Given container ship, to settle the financial dispute regarding its blockage of the canal in Egypt.

The Panama-flagged vessel became diagonally stuck in the Suez Canal on 23 March and was re-floated six days later.

However, during the period that the canal was blocked, several other vessels were delayed and global trade was disrupted.

After it was re-floated, the vessel and its crew were detained by the SCA, amidst a dispute over a compensation demand made by the authority.

In a statement, Faz Peermohamed of Stann Marine, which is representing the ship’s owner and its insurers, said: “Preparations for the release of the vessel will be made and an event marking the agreement will be held at the authority’s headquarters in Ismailia in due course.”

According to the SCA, the Ever Given will be freed after the signing of the settlement contract during a ceremony on 7 July.

However, no financial details regarding the settlement deal were provided by Stann Marine.

SCA chairman Osama Rabie said that the canal will obtain a tugboat with a towing capacity of nearly 75t under the settlement.

In June, Shoei Kisen Kaisha and the vessel’s insurers reached an agreement in principle with the authority.

In April, the SCA demanded nearly $900m in compensation for covering the cost of salvage labour, reputational damage and lost income.

Later, the demanded amount was publicly lowered to $550m.

According to court sources and a lawyer, an Egyptian court has postponed hearings in the compensation dispute to 11 July, giving the SCA as well as the Ever Given’s owner time to resolve the settlement.

Despite the blockage, the Suez Canal earned around $3bn in revenue during the first half of this year, indicating an increase of 8.8% compared with the same period in 2020.

In May, the SCA received approval from the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for its plans to expand the southern section of the canal, where the Ever Given ran aground.

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